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Zander Fish or Pike Perch Fish

Zander (Sander lucioperca or Stizostedion lucioperca), is a species of fish. They are also called as pike-perch as it resembles the pike. These creatures are commonly believed to be a pike and perch hybrid but it is not so in real. These species are found in lakes, rivers of central, eastern, and Western Europe. It varies in color from greenish to grayish, and they usually have dark markings. They generally grow up to a size of (50 to 66) cm and weigh up to 3 kg. These species are considered as the common and popular game fish in Europe. It is a popular food and may sometimes reach up to 15 kilograms in size. They establish themselves easily in changing surroundings. They can very well adapt themselves in the slow-flowing, sparsely vegetated and murky waters. But in order to survive, these species need plenty of oxygen and disappear from eutrophic areas.

Their body is elongated, slender, laterally compressed and covered with very small scales (70 to 95 in lateral line). The lateral line continues up to the tail fin. These fishes have large mouth and have dorsal spines, which is (13 to 20) in number. The second dorsal fin of the zanders has (18 to 24) soft rays. They do not have spines on the gill cover. The upper and lower jaws have strong teeth. Their mouth is large compared with the perch and ruffe, but are small when compared to the cavernous jaws of the pike. The pairs of large fang-like teeth are found on the front of the lower and upper jaws. These fang-like teeth are used to stab and hold the prey. They have large eyes with a peculiar glassy look, which incorporate a reflective plate or tapetum. This increases their sensitivity of catching prey and defending at night and in poor light. Their gills are partially covered with scales and their back is greenish-gray. Their tail is speckled grey with white lower lobe.

Habitat and Habits
These fishes are calm and are found in deep freshwater of lakes, reservoirs, canals and rivers. They are usually found at the depth of (2 to 30) m. A recent study done in the United States shows that, the habitats of the zanders vary during different seasons. The diet of these species includes different varieties of food. They like to feed on the smaller fish species, mainly the bottom feeders such as gudgeon. These fishes feed even on their own species.

Reproduction / Breeding
These zander fishes reach sexual maturity at the age between (4 to 7) years. They are known to spawn in the spring, when water temperature ranges around (12-26) degree Celsius. The female nests in the holes or lay eggs on the bare roots of plants. The males guard the eggs and newly hatched fry. Each female of these species can produce around (200 to 500) eggs. The young ones first feed on zooplankton and by the end of the first year, they eat the carnivorous food.